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Kevin Durant Has The Power To Silence Steve Nash ‘Controversy,’ If He Wants To

From the beginning, Kevin Durant had all the power. He still does. But the thing about having power is knowing how and when to use it.

The Nets hired Steve Nash as the head coach Thursday and that led to an outcry, started by Stephen A. Smith on ESPN, about “white privilege.’’ Nash hasn’t coached at any level, and now he steps onto a contending team for his first job while black coaches who have paid coaching dues, such as Ty Lue, were left out? Lue has already won an NBA title as a head coach.

Well, there’s nothing wrong with that point, but Durant, the Nets star, was in position to get Lue the job in the first place. Or, he also is in position to stop the controversy on the team now by stepping up and saying that he had pushed for Nash, who worked in the Warriors’ organization while Durant was with Golden State.

Look, the players are in control in the NBA. They are playing in a bubble with the promise that they can send social justice messages. If having black coaches was something they considered important, then they could have made that happen.

The players are the ones who turned the bubble into a shrine for Black Lives Matter. That was their choice, their cause. 

The irony: Players control the system that people are saying is racist.

They could have made Lue their cause. The Nets weren’t going to do anything without Durant’s permission. And that’s not to let his star teammate Kyrie Irving off the hook, because if he had strongly objected to Nash, then Nash wouldn’t have the job today, either.

The players don’t know how to use their power and would rather support Jacob Blake than Ty Lue.

That’s up to them, of course. And maybe the Nets shouldn’t care what Stephen A. Smith says about Nash if Durant and Irving approved. But Smith was railing about white privilege when the NBA players were basically responsible for it. Or at least they could have stopped it.

The history of player power in the NBA dates back to Bill Russell and the Celtics. Red Auerbach built a team of black players around Russell; in 1963-64, the Celtics had the NBA’s first all-black starting lineup. In the 1980s, the Celtics surrounded Larry Bird with what was likely the whitest team in the league.

As for Lue today, there are other job openings and the players can pressure owners about white privilege. If Lue matters to them, then he will get another head coaching job any day now.

Meanwhile, Durant — and Irving, too — should publicly defend Nash’s hiring. They have the power to end the outcry about it.

Use it.

Written by Greg Couch

Greg earned the 2007 Peter Lisagor Award as the best sports columnist in the Chicagoland area for his work with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a college football writer in 1997 before becoming a general columnist in 2003. He also won a Lisagor in 2016 for his commentary in RollingStone.com and The Guardian.

Couch penned articles and columns for CNN.com/Bleacher Report, AOL Fanhouse, and The Sporting News and contributed as a writer and on-air analyst for FoxSports.com and Fox Sports 1 TV. In his journalistic roles, Couch has covered the grandest stages of tennis from Wimbledon to the Olympics, among numerous national and international sporting spectacles. He also won first place awards from the U.S. Tennis Writers Association for his event coverage and column writing on the sport in 2010.

15 Comments

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  1. Greg, very well said……I especially like this paragraph: “Look, the players are in control in the NBA. They are playing in a bubble with the promise that they can send social justice messages. If having black coaches was something they considered important, then they could have made that happen.”

  2. I disagree. They don’t need to say anything. Durant and Irving have already spoken by requesting Steve Nash to begin with. They don’t need to feed the media anything.

    Stephen A. and the rest of the ESPSJW’s are already looking stupid and are further marginalizing themselves from the majority of America that has long since moved past the race baiting.

    Ignoring the race baiting bullshit is the best way to make it disappear.

  3. If the loser that SAS is would take a moment and look at this with his race tinted glasses misplaced for a minute he would rail against the two players who signed off on it. No bang there so we go with the race angle. Beyond stale. No one looks at this and thinks he got the job because he is white and Canadian. Those sombitches get everything. A pathetic take and not worthy of being sent across the airwaves. What will Shannon Sharpton have to say. I wait with baited breath. No actually I don’t watch. I’m sorry.

  4. From what I’ve been reading, the Nets players were on board with Nash. Who knew there was a race quota in the NBA coaching ranks. This is one area where even the woke sports media is generally in agreement…that SAS sounds like a buffoon.

  5. SAS is a race baitin’ blowhard! Kerr is the only other example he gave of a coach without any prior experience. Then he went on to say that a black man would never get that same opportunity. If we take him on his word, which is he’s an expert on everything that is basketball, we would then know he’s completely full of shit! I say that because he would know that Doc Rivers, Isiah Thomas, Mark Jackson, Derek Fischer, and Jason Kidd all got head coaching jobs without any prior coaching experience. Shit though, who cares about facts when the cool thing nowadays is scream racism and white privilege, knowing no one will call you out on it. That is until Outkick came along!

  6. This story is so cut and dry about not being about race, it is a self-evident truth. Anyone that says it isn’t, is either mentally challenged or mentally corrupt.
    In the end, Irving will implode the team by being an idiot or getting injured, thus costing the Nets a real chance at a championship.

  7. Given that the players run the NBA, what better way for one or two key players to exert even greater control than by having a coach of another race? If Nash makes a coaching decision either of them disagrees with they can play the race card. That would not work with Ty Lue.

  8. so if any white person gets hired in the NBA now it’s racist and privileged.

    -95% Black basketball leaguesB
    -Black only national anthem
    -Black only holidays
    -Black branded TV networks
    -Black only TV and music awards
    -Black month
    -Black colleges
    -Black only political caucuses
    -Black music categories
    -Black lives matter
    -Black churches
    and here’s the best one….National Association of Black Journalists which I heard discussed on ESPN with laughter and joy and left me perplexed.

    Isn’t it interesting how the “Black” community (Yes, they have their own community too) has become the biggest proponent of segregation?

    Everything I listed has an integrated side, as it naturally should. But every one plus thousands more have a “Blacks Only” side. I’d love for Jason to do a piece on this topic

  9. Is it anybody’s responsibility to respond to relentless race baiting / SJW whining?
    Anyone with a brain knows that KD and Kyrie are totally on board with the hiring of Nash, and that skin color plays no part in the quest for a championship – or anything else, for that matter…
    It’s time to ignore it all, get back to real life; and let the whiners whine themselves to sleep and outta jobs.

    Most of this 2020 BS goes away after TRUMP 2020!!

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